This year I have enrolled in the Mind Lab post-graduate programme focused on digital and collaborative learning and leadership (DCLL - my acronym), offered by a private institution through Unitec. It is available to registered teachers working in public schools, and there is a substantial subsidy if you're eligible. The course runs for 32 weeks - the initial 16 weeks comprise of two papers (one on leadership and the other digital learning) made up of 4hrs class time and a little flipped learning time (read homework!). The last 16 are more self-directed, with the two papers focused on informed and applied practice.
I'm hoping to do a little cross-crediting into my Waikato post-graduate study to complete my masters in education - which has been done before (although with other institutions). We'll see how we go!
A little more about the programme, straight from the horses mouth...
The postgraduate progamme from The Mind Lab by Unitec allows practicing teachers to study a recognised postgraduate qualification part-time while continuing in full-time employment.
With the rollout of ultra-fast broadband to schools across New Zealand, the School Network Update Project, and increasing numbers of BYOD programmes and other classroom technology schemes, digital tools are becoming prevalent in the classroom, but technology alone does not mean better teaching and learning. Teacher education is critical in making the most of technology in schools. As the 2015 OECD report ‘Students, Computers and Learning: Making the Connection’ states: ‘The key elements for success are the teachers, school leaders and other decision makers who have the vision, and the ability, to make the connection between students, computers and learning.’ We share that vision, and are committed to giving teachers the skills, confidence and experience to transform education for the benefit of all learners. The three complementary themes of digital tools, collaboration and leadership lie at the heart of our Digital and Collaborative Learning programme. (MindLab.com, 2015)
Our first session
The ran fairly smoothly, although always a few hiccups when IT heavy, and there was lots of interacting with the group, markers and paper, and even play dough! I discovered I pay attention to others one-on-one much better when my hands are busy! After watching a few clips we had a few practical digital tasks - making a short video clip of our understanding of the purpose of education and knowledge.
During the session I was introduced to the concept of 'followership' as opposed to 'leadership'. In the past I have felt uncomfortable being a follower - I guess I prefer decision making rather than taking - but followership allowed a few more active dimensions to the role. Although quite long, this clip on dancing the tango alludes to these dimensions.